[thelist] Big drop-down lists.

Bill Moseley moseley at hank.org
Tue Sep 7 22:39:27 CDT 2010

On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 8:30 PM, Francesco <francesco at blackcoil.com> wrote:

> I built an "auto-complete drop down" control for a client 2 years ago
> that has been implemented on over 150 distinct sites, all querying the
> same SQL database (or cached data sets, for performance enhancement).
> It's basically a medical term search engine where users type in things
> like "heart disease" "osteoporosis" "chest pain" and get an
> autocomplete drop down that updates via Ajax on every character typed
> after the first 2 characters, retrieving a fresh set of matching
> keywords, along with a count(*) of results for that keyword.  VERY
> similar, and actually modeled after, Google Suggest.

So if you type two characters you get all keywords that start with those two
characters?  What if those two characters return thousands or matching
keywords?  Do you ajax fetch just a small number and allow users to scroll
down to fetch another chunk?

Google can rank it's terms so if you type two characters it can show you the
top few terms that start with those letters.   But, if there's no explicit
ranking of the terms then I wonder how to pick what to show.

Bill Moseley
moseley at hank.org

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